Nice to see Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post sticking it
to the real culprits in the Mark Foley IM-gate scandal: the victims.
Among the many depressing aspects of the downfall of Mark Foley—who has now done the inevitable checking-into-rehab thing—is that a number of young people could have blown the whistle on this deceptive congressman in recent years, but didn't.
For shame. He then adds this grace note:
Now I don't want to come down on 16-year-old kids (though some are now as old as 21 [and it would be just fine to come down on a 21-year-old who had been sexually exploited by a 54-year-old government official, -ed.]) who must have been intimidated by the whole thing. Indeed, the power imbalance between a big-shot member of Congress and a lowly page is part of what makes this infuriating.
But did they really think that if they told the outside world that the co-chair of the Exploited Children's Caucus was sending them, or their friends, graphic sexual messages, that their future careers would be ruined? That they would be washed up in politics? Isn't it more likely that they would be hailed as brave for doing the right thing?
Jesus, Mary and Joseph! Has Kurtz not heard of people like Karl Rove? Is he unaware that the best marksmen in America are the character assassins of Washington, D.C.? Couple that fact with the added anxiety and shame of being hit on by some guy their fathers' age and all the homosexual undertones (which, in case you weren't aware, aren't necessarily all that cool among the Young Republican set) and it becomes very understandable that they might not want to volunteer this information.